We recently heard from a reader in distress. She wrote to us asking, “What the heck is this?” and also sent us a video, which we have included a screen shot of below. In the video she says out loud, “There is a worm in the toilet and it really scares me.” The video shows the worm in question wiggling around her toilet bowl:
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The worm is reddish brown, thin, and likely a few inches long. We believe this specimen is an earthworm. Readers find earthworms in their toilets more often than you might think!
Earthworms need a lot moisture to survive, and can actually live completely submerged in water. Earthworms don’t have lungs, instead they absorb oxygen through their body surface. So as long as the water they are submerged in has enough oxygen, earthworms can stay alive submerged for several weeks!
We think this earthworm probably wound up in our reader’s toilet by accident. While the moisture of a toilet bowl is appealing to an earthworm, it isn’t an ideal environment. Earthworms eat as they burrow, swallowing dirt that is full of decaying roots, leaves, and animal manure. An earthworm might find a few things to snack on in a toilet, but there isn’t enough food for it to live on.
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This earthworm might have gotten in through the pipes connecting to the toilet. If there was recently a lot of rain the earthworm might have gotten pushed through a small crack in the pipe and ended up in the toilet. Before our reader calls a plumber, we encourage her to simply place the worm back outside in some soil. If she continues to find worms in her toilet, she might want to look into her plumbing. If she doesn’t find any other creatures, we encourage her to move on. We know finding the worm in her toilet really rattled her, but earthworms are harmless and are in fact very important to the environment!
In conclusion, one of our readers was quite freaked out to discover an earthworm in her toilet. We recommend she move the worm outside, where it can burrow into some soil and be happy!